For many of us, a big part of the joy of the holidays is connecting with friends and family, many of whom you may not see at any other time. It can be a whirlwind of activity. But if we're honest, it can also be an emotional vortex that sucks you in. Your sister still doesn't pitch in, your older son still pushes your buttons—on purpose—and your father-in-law still constantly interrupts you. No wonder you feel exhausted and depleted!
There is a respite from all that standing right in front of you: your partner. Look deep into that person's eyes and say the words you're both thinking: Let's get out of here. Then grab your lover by the hand and go.
Here are a few ideas that you can do in less than two hours, cost almost nothing and can refresh you and your partner.
Brew some tea or decaf coffee and take a drive to see the holiday lights in your community. Ask your partner for a favorite holiday memory from childhood, then share one of yours.
Head to your favorite restaurant or bar—the one where everyone knows your name—and make a list of all the places you've spent New Year's Eve since you met.
Go someplace completely unexpected, like the zoo or a planetarium. Because they aren't associated with holiday traditions, places like that serve as a reminder that the holidays really are just a season that will pass.
Bundle up and visit the closest recreation area or park where you can hike, skate, snowshoe or cross country ski. Being out in nature is a great way to literally take a deep breath that will leave you feeling rejuvenated.
Once you're home again, pull the cushions off the couch and sleep under the Christmas tree for a night. The warm glow of the lights is flattering at any age. Think about presents your partner has given you in the past and express appreciation for one or two of them. Be specific about why the gift meant so much to you.
Learn more about Self-Care Rituals to Reduce Holiday Stress.
When you give yourself permission to take mini escapes together (and then use them to connect), I think you'll see that it's possible to give yourself over to the holidays without letting them completely take over your life.
Barb DePree, MD, has been a gynecologist for 30 years, specializing in menopause care for the past 10. Dr. DePree was named the Certified Menopause Practitioner of the Year in 2013 by the North American Menopause Society. The award particularly recognized the outreach, communication and education she does through MiddlesexMD, a website she founded and where this blog first appeared. She also is director of the Women's Midlife Services at Holland Hospital, Holland, Michigan.